What is your title?
Director of R&P and National Projects
How long have you been with VLS?
Since October of 2022
What Office Do You Work Out Of?
What is your hometown?
What do you like most about the lighting industry?
So much of what we do is about creating emotion. Stepping back and thinking “big-picture”, so many events we experience in our lives where lighting plays an active role are FILLED with emotion. Whether that be the joy, sadness, or contemplation that comes when we see live theatre, the elation of a wedding, or the thrill of a concert or event, stellar lighting sets the scene and DELIVERS emotion. Our audience may not be able to pin-point why they feel some way, but together with our friends in the audio world, lighting is the vessel that makes us feel.
Who inspires you?
SO MANY PEOPLE! On a personal level my wife and my mother, the two strongest women I know: my mother for her selflessness and my wife for her dedication and devotion to her work (and for putting up with all my idiosyncrasies). Professionally, I’m amazed every day at the caliber and type of people that VLS has attracted. From my beginning in Rental and Production, Patrick (Inside Sales) championed me and “took me under his wing” and helped me learn to spread mine, Steve and Trevor on the delivery team teach me something every day, and of course Ron (National Account Executive) showed me more dedication to not just the craft, but to the art of delivering to the customer than anyone I’ve ever worked with.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the lighting industry?
I spent over a decade of my life working with high school theater programs and when I reflect on that time, I often think about a few pieces of advice that I felt were always present. First, would be to find something that you can take ownership of. Big or small, at the end of a production or a show or an event find that one thing that happened in some way because of you. This industry is all about attention to detail and problem solving, often having to solve problems with an odd or limited toolset. Regardless of what career path you take during or after your time in the lighting industry understand that this ability to problem solve will make you valuable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, know what you don’t know, and reach out to mentors. Nearly everyone I’ve met in the lighting world has a specific and unique passion for the craft. People with passion WANT to share that passion with someone that shows interest. Secretly, we are all just huge nerds who like to talk gear and shop.
What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — you learned in the last month?
Tomatoes are native to the Americas, meaning there was no such thing as tomato sauce in Italy until after the 16th century.
What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I’m an ambivert. The people in my life will tell you that I certainly project extroverted, but I NEED my recovery time. And sometimes this extroversion is to cover for some innate shyness that has always been present in my life.
What’s the last book you read?
I’m a voracious consumer of audio books. I tend to have a few genres going at once based on my mood. My most recent completions are “Starter Villain” by John Scalzi and “Miracle and Wonder” by Malcolm Gladwell and Bruce Headlam
What is your favorite hobby?
Photography! Growing up, I felt like I asked for a camera for every gift giving holiday and still as an adult I’m fascinated by cameras. I think in some weird way it helped foster my love of working in a lighting related field. Fun fact, the word photography comes from the Greek words phos, meaning LIGHT, and graphis, meaning paintbrush, so together they mean “drawing with light”!
What’s the first concert you ever attended?
Other than going to see the orchestra as a child with my grandmother, my first true “live music” concert was Aerosmith when I was 13. I quickly fell in love with the magic of live music. Since then, I’ve seen countless shows spanning many genres. Overall, I’m a pretty strange human, and I’m fascinated with numbers and streaks. So here’s some fun concert related facts about me: Personal record for most concerts seen in the span of one year: 72. The amount of times I’ve seen my favorite band (Coheed and Cambria) perform live: 112 (in 20 states, 2 countries, and international waters).
What’s the next place on your travel bucket list?
Spain! So much art I want to see there.
If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A Bellie-Up from Cordelia in Downtown Cleveland. If you know, YOU KNOW.
What’s one item you can’t live without?
Musician’s earplugs. Treat yourself and get a good pair with interchangeable filters for different levels of attenuation. Or better yet, be extra bougie and have impressions made. It’s an investment in yourself, and not as expensive as you may think!